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Olivia and the Fairy Princesses

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Overview

In this picture book starring the world’s most imaginative pig, Olivia embarks upon a quest for identity with very lofty goals—and being a princess is NOT one of them!

Olivia is having an identity crisis! There are too many ruffly, sparkly princesses around these days, and Olivia has had quite enough. She needs to stand out! She has to be special! She wants to do more than just fit in! So what will she be?
Join Olivia on a hilarious quest for ...

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Overview

In this picture book starring the world’s most imaginative pig, Olivia embarks upon a quest for identity with very lofty goals—and being a princess is NOT one of them!

Olivia is having an identity crisis! There are too many ruffly, sparkly princesses around these days, and Olivia has had quite enough. She needs to stand out! She has to be special! She wants to do more than just fit in! So what will she be?
Join Olivia on a hilarious quest for individuality, and rest assured, you won’t find THIS pig pleased to be in pink!

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Throughout the Olivia books, Falconer’s hammy piglet has played such roles as circus performer, experimental music dynamo, and fashionista. She opens this delightful installment declaring, “I think I’m having an identity crisis.... I don’t know what I should be!” When her father chirps, “You’ll always be my little princess,” Olivia mopes, “All the girls want to be princesses,” and so do “a couple of the boys.” Falconer pictures his heroine defying crowds of pink-tutu’d, wand-waving look-alikes by sporting a voguish sailor shirt and Wintouresque black sunglasses; Olivia later dresses as a blue warthog at a Halloween party (“It was very effective”). And while other dancers compete to become a fairy princess ballerina, Olivia opines, “I’m trying to develop a more stark, modern style,” letting loose with a series of dramatic poses in a stretchy charcoal-gray fabric tube (the book’s dedication: “With deepest apologies to Martha Graham”). Olivia stubbornly dresses in red-and-white-striped long johns, resists damsel-in-distress bedtime stories, and lies awake considering philanthropic lines of work. Lest this be seen as pure propaganda, however, Olivia’s ultimate career decision places everything in perspective: “I want to be queen.” Not all will be persuaded to join the pink princess backlash, but it’s a start. Ages 3–7. Agent: Conrad Rippy, Levine Plotkin & Menin. (Aug.)
Booklist
“Olivia is depressed. She sees that individuality counts for little in her world…. After she spends the night pondering what she can be other than a princess, the last page shows her glorious answer…as with previous books, most of the fun comes from the delicious artwork executed in signature charcoal perked up with reds…. There are also some strong messages here about individuality and reinventing yourself according to your own vision. It’s an idea you’re never to young to learn.”
The Plain Dealer
"I approach sequels cautiously—they frequently don't measure up to the original. Happily, this one doesn't disappoint.... Falconer's droll humor is evident in both words and pictures...pure Olivia."
The New York Times Book Review
“Thank God for Ian Falconer and his Olivia. She is the popular school-age pig, the latest in a lien of independent, high-spirited young ladies that goes back at least to Madeline and Eloise, and also includes Frances the badger and Lilly the mouse. Her seventh full-fledged adventure, “Olivia and the Fairy Princesses,” is, to my taste, her best since her introduction 12 years ago.”
Wall Street Journal
“The legions of young children (and parents) who have relished Ian Falconer's "Olivia" books are well aware that the redoubtable eponymous piglet has a distinct personality and a flamboyant sensibility all her own. As a stand-in for the most amusing sort of precocious child, Olivia revels in her uniqueness and finds it provoking that other people need to conform. Yet at the same time, she is not wholly indifferent to the pleasures that other little girls enjoy.”
August 2012 The New York Times Book Review
“Thank God for Ian Falconer and his Olivia. She is the popular school-age pig, the latest in a lien of independent, high-spirited young ladies that goes back at least to Madeline and Eloise, and also includes Frances the badger and Lilly the mouse. Her seventh full-fledged adventure, “Olivia and the Fairy Princesses,” is, to my taste, her best since her introduction 12 years ago.”
From the Publisher
“Olivia is back and as strong-willed as ever in this rumination on individuality. The usually upbeat piglet is depressed. “I think I’m having an identity crisis.” All of the children in her class want to be princesses…. But Olivia likes to be unique…. Falconer’s trademark use of minimalistic color to make Olivia stand out from the crowd is in full force here. His visual humor underscores his punch lines and illustrates Olivia’s imagination…the subtle, sophisticated humor is pitched at adults as well as children. Falconer’s witty parent-child banter will resonate with listeners old and young alike. Anyone who is afraid of challenging words and complex ideas should stay away, but parents looking for a way to expand their children’s minds with more than a few chuckles along the way will find this story just the ticket. More please.”

School Library Journal, August 2012

September 2012 The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

“Independent-minded Olivia continues to be an endearing and distinctive heroine, and many a kid (and adult) weary of Barbie-pink fluff will find Olivia’s perspective refreshing…the hordes of piglets clad in rosy tutus are actually quite adorable, but confident Olivia pictorially makes a strong case for striped ensembles and primary hues as she attractively poses in Falconer’s charcoal and gouache illustrations.

This is a helpful reassurance that there are enjoyable alternatives to pink princesses for imaginative play and dressup possibilities.”

September 2012 The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
“Independent-minded Olivia continues to be an endearing and distinctive heroine, and many a kid (and adult) weary of Barbie-pink fluff will find Olivia’s perspective refreshing…the hordes of piglets clad in rosy tutus are actually quite adorable, but confident Olivia pictorially makes a strong case for striped ensembles and primary hues as she attractively poses in Falconer’s charcoal and gouache illustrations.

This is a helpful reassurance that there are enjoyable alternatives to pink princesses for imaginative play and dressup possibilities.”

From the Publisher
“Olivia is back and as strong-willed as ever in this rumination on individuality. The usually upbeat piglet is depressed. “I think I’m having an identity crisis.” All of the children in her class want to be princesses…. But Olivia likes to be unique…. Falconer’s trademark use of minimalistic color to make Olivia stand out from the crowd is in full force here. His visual humor underscores his punch lines and illustrates Olivia’s imagination…the subtle, sophisticated humor is pitched at adults as well as children. Falconer’s witty parent-child banter will resonate with listeners old and young alike. Anyone who is afraid of challenging words and complex ideas should stay away, but parents looking for a way to expand their children’s minds with more than a few chuckles along the way will find this story just the ticket. More please.”

School Library Journal, August 2012

Wall Street Journal
“The legions of young children (and parents) who have relished Ian Falconer's "Olivia" books are well aware that the redoubtable eponymous piglet has a distinct personality and a flamboyant sensibility all her own. As a stand-in for the most amusing sort of precocious child, Olivia revels in her uniqueness and finds it provoking that other people need to conform. Yet at the same time, she is not wholly indifferent to the pleasures that other little girls enjoy.”
Booklist
“Olivia is depressed. She sees that individuality counts for little in her world…. After she spends the night pondering what she can be other than a princess, the last page shows her glorious answer…as with previous books, most of the fun comes from the delicious artwork executed in signature charcoal perked up with reds…. There are also some strong messages here about individuality and reinventing yourself according to your own vision. It’s an idea you’re never to young to learn.”
September 2012 The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
“Independent-minded Olivia continues to be an endearing and distinctive heroine, and many a kid (and adult) weary of Barbie-pink fluff will find Olivia’s perspective refreshing…the hordes of piglets clad in rosy tutus are actually quite adorable, but confident Olivia pictorially makes a strong case for striped ensembles and primary hues as she attractively poses in Falconer’s charcoal and gouache illustrations.

This is a helpful reassurance that there are enjoyable alternatives to pink princesses for imaginative play and dressup possibilities.”

August 2012 The New York Times Book Review
“Thank God for Ian Falconer and his Olivia. She is the popular school-age pig, the latest in a lien of independent, high-spirited young ladies that goes back at least to Madeline and Eloise, and also includes Frances the badger and Lilly the mouse. Her seventh full-fledged adventure, “Olivia and the Fairy Princesses,” is, to my taste, her best since her introduction 12 years ago.”
Kirkus Reviews
In this latest, delightfully droll episode, readers find their precocious pig suffering from an identity crisis. While all the other girls she knows, and even some of the boys, dress as ruffled pink princesses for parties and desperately want to be fairy princess ballerinas, Olivia's aspirations are more sui (or sooey?) generis. She may have wanted to be a ballerina once. But that was last year, when she was too young to know better. Now, on an uproarious two-page spread that depicts her in a series of Martha Graham–style postures, Olivia explains that she is "trying to develop a more stark, modern style." Befittingly, a framed photograph of Graham is in clear view above Olivia's bed as her understandably exasperated mother attempts to read to her from a book of fairy tales. Olivia rejects Rapunzel because she ends up becoming a princess, but she quickly realizes that she wouldn't want to be the little match girl freezing in the snow either. Olivia's whirring brain begins to consider what she might like to be instead--a nurse or a reporter perhaps? Her ultimate choice is quintessentially Olivia. Falconer's charcoal-and-gouache illustrations, black and white with splashes of color interspersed, showcase Olivia's unique spirit and dramatic flair. Not a whole lot of plot here, but panache aplenty. (Picture book. 4-7)
The New York Times Book Review
Her seventh full-fledged adventure, Olivia and the Fairy Princesses, is, to my taste, her best since her introduction…years ago as a fashion-conscious, Degas-loving heroine with a thing for Maria Callas and a talent for "wearing people out"…the book should be a real eye-opener among the kindergarten set, and I hope children respond to this. Adults, it is certain, will find Olivia and the Fairy Princesses a welcome antidote to all the Very Fairy Princesses, Fancy Nancys and Angelina Ballerinas out there…
—Bruce Handy
Children's Literature - Carrie Hane Hung
Poor Olivia has the doldrums. For a pig that has a mind of her own and a unique style, she finds herself in the middle of an identity crisis because all the other pigs (female and some male) also want to be princesses with their pink dresses, sparkling crowns, and glittering scepters. At the birthday party, the dance studio, and the Halloween party, princesses dressed in pink are the rage. The princesses are all carbon copies of each other. Olivia ponders over her dilemma of what she wants to be and considers other options for her identity. In one layout, Olivia's anguish and struggles are displayed in a Martha Graham-like portrait; later, readers will see the connection with the picture that hangs above Olivia's bed. Readers may need to discuss what Olivia really wants in order to understand the ending of the story. This book is part of the series of stories about Olivia, the pig with a distinctive personality. Reviewer: Carrie Hane Hung
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2—Olivia is back and as strong-willed as ever in this rumination on individuality. The usually upbeat piglet is depressed. "I think I'm having an identity crisis." All of the children in her class want to be princesses. In pink, "...even some of the boys." But Olivia likes to be unique. "Why not an Indian princess…or an African princess…."? For the ballet recital, everyone wants to be the fairy princess. But Olivia is "trying to develop a more stark, modern style." The hilarious attempt results in a series of spot illustrations of Olivia in a dark tube dress, posing in different positions, à la Martha Graham. For Halloween, she is a warthog. And she has had enough of fairy tales with princesses. At last, she realizes what she wants to be: Queen, of course! Falconer's trademark use of minimalistic color to make Olivia stand out from the crowd is in full force here. His visual humor underscores his punch lines and illustrates Olivia's imagination. Showcasing words like "treatments" and "corporate malfeasance," the text will occasionally go over youngsters' heads, and the subtle, sophisticated humor is pitched at adults as well as children. Falconer's witty parent-child banter will resonate with listeners old and young alike. Anyone who is afraid of challenging words and complex ideas should stay away, but parents looking for a way to expand their children's minds with more than a few chuckles along the way will find this story just the ticket. More please.—Amy Lilien-Harper, The Ferguson Library, Stamford, CT
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781442450271
  • Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
  • Publication date: 8/28/2012
  • Series: Olivia Series
  • Pages: 40
  • Sales rank: 60,225
  • Age range: 3 - 7 Years
  • Lexile: AD630L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 8.88 (w) x 11.10 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Ian Falconer

Ian Falconer is the author and illustrator of the Olivia book series. The character of Olivia—a precocious little pig who loves fashion, ballet, opera, and getting her own way—is based on Falconer's real-life niece. Falconer's illustrations have graced numerous covers of The New Yorker magazine. In addition, he has designed sets and costumes for the New York City Ballet, the San Francisco Opera, and the Royal Opera House, among others. He lives in Los Angeles.

Ian Falconer is the author and illustrator of the Olivia book series. The character of Olivia—a precocious little pig who loves fashion, ballet, opera, and getting her own way—is based on Falconer's real-life niece. Falconer's illustrations have graced numerous covers of The New Yorker magazine. In addition, he has designed sets and costumes for the New York City Ballet, the San Francisco Opera, and the Royal Opera House, among others. He lives in Los Angeles.

Biography

Ask any book-loving toddler who Olivia is, and you're likely to get a big smile and an enthusiastic description of a rambunctious, creative, and lovable little pig in return. Ian Falconer's Olivia books are a bestselling sensation that has grabbed the attention of kids from coast to coast.

Falconer did not start off as a writer and illustrator of children's books, but he did have an impressive background in art. After studying art at New York University, Parsons School of Design, and the Otis Institute, Falconer hooked up with noted artist David Hockney to design sets and costumes for stage productions in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and London. He also made a name for himself as an illustrator for The New Yorker.

However, Falconer's life changed when he first laid eyes on his baby niece, who, by no coincidence, is named Olivia. "I was just entranced by her," he told Barnes & Noble.com. "I wanted to make a little present for her, so I started working on this book."

That gift for his niece would become the first in a series of smash hit children's books, although it was no overnight sell. Falconer first submitted the book to a Manhattan agency, which loved his expertly rendered illustrations but felt he needed to work with an established writer. "So, I sat on it," he explains. "Then a couple of years later, Anne Schwartz at Simon and Schuster called me. She liked my New Yorker work and asked if I would be interested in doing a children's book. I brought her Olivia." Fortunately, Schwartz had the foresight to recognize the potential of Falconer's peppy pig and his first book was published.

Olivia is particularly unique in the world of children's picture books because of its stark minimalism. Inspired by the similar style of Dr. Seuss, Falconer chose to create uncluttered images in black and white with the occasional splash of red. His story was equally minimal, describing the antics of a hyper-active piglet who tests her mother's patience by belting out songs, drawing on the walls, dancing, and...well... acting like a kid. "She's not really a bratty character but she does get away with a lot," Falconer says of his creation. "She manages to do what she wants, create havoc and sort of gets away with it, because whatever she's doing, it's also kind of interesting. I think Olivia could possibly be a little more thoughtful of others, but she'd be not nearly as much fun."

Kids certainly picked up on the fun in Olivia, sending the book onto the New York Times bestseller list and inspiring a parade of new adventures for everyone's favorite piglet. In Olivia Saves the Circus, she spins tall tales about lion taming and tightrope walking. In Olivia ... and the Missing Toy, she plays amateur detective. In Olivia's Opposites and Olivia Counts she even teaches some valuable lessons for the toddler mindset. All of the books are distinguished by Falconer's trademark humor and unmistakable illustrative style.

In Olivia's latest escapade Olivia Forms a Band, Olivia makes a racket like never before when she decides to start a one-pig band using items she finds around the house. Only a rapscallion like Olivia can get away with making music on pots, pans, toys, and even a pair of suspenders and still remaining 100% adorable. The book also breaks new ground as it introduces some welcome shades of blue into the visual mix.

Falconer's legions of pint-sized fans will surely be delighted by Olivia's latest adventure. Meanwhile, the real Olivia is taking the popularity of the pig she inspired like a regular celebrity. "I did a book signing out in Connecticut, and about half way through the book signing, Olivia came in with her parents just to say ‘hi'," Falconer explained with a grin. "She had to have been five at the time, and she just sat down and started signing the books. She felt as if she ought to be signing as well!"

Good To Know

Falconer has brought his unique talent to "The Happiest Place on Earth." He is responsible for designing floats in the new Main Street Parade.

Olivia is not the only character in Ian Falconer's books that was inspired by a real person. He says that everyone in the little piglet's family was inspired by members of his sister's family.

Read More Show Less
    1. Hometown:
      New York, New York
    1. Date of Birth:
      August 25, 1959
    2. Place of Birth:
      Ridgefield, Connecticut
    1. Education:
      Studied art history at New York University and painting at Parsons School of Design and Otis Art Institute

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 6 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 19, 2013

    Olivia's desire to not be like everyone else is just the tale I

    Olivia's desire to not be like everyone else is just the tale I want my toddler reading. Love it!

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 5, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Olivia is back in another cute tale about being unique

    Olivia, the stubborn and funny pig, is back in another adorable children’s book. This time, Olivia is tired of everyone wanting to be a fairy princess, even some of the boys. At birthday parties, the school dance recital, and even Halloween, all anyone wants to be is a Fairy Princess. But Olivia wants to stand out and be unique in her own way. As Olivia goes through a list of all the different things she could be, she finally decides something that tops them all.
    Illustrated in captivating black and white drawings highlighted with few colors, make Olivia’s decision to be her unique self even more poignant. And the message that being different is okay creates a great moral well told through another impressive Olivia book.
    Recommended for readers age 3-7.

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 28, 2012

    I am an adult woman and find the Olivia books fantastically char

    I am an adult woman and find the Olivia books fantastically charming! I
    love the character of Olivia and the style she is drawn in...The Stories
    are simple yet sophisticated. I look forward to each new tale... Thank
    You Ian Falconer : ) Wrenbrook

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 21, 2013

    Olivia book

    Good show good show jolly good show id givz 5
    starz!

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 26, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 3, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

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